Sometimes, if an author is really lucky, the opening chapter of a book is easy to write and the author knows exactly where to begin the story. Most of the time, it’s not that easy. I’ve heard some people say you should start writing, and then delete the first few pages–that’s where the story usually really begins.

Sometimes authors try to give to tons of information upfront, figuring the reader will be lost if they don’t. But, in reality, sometimes it’s better to save a lot of that information for later in the story. Give enough to create the setting and introduce the main character, but only hint at something that is coming.

I began working on a new book yesterday. I know most of the story and have it planned out, but where should the story begin? I started making a list of possible openings. The first few were pretty straight-forward and started pretty much at the beginning of the protagonist’s journey. Each held a little bit of a question (hook). Then I tried a fourth possibility–beginning with the ending and then having the protagonist tell her story of how she got to that point. It’s a common way to begin, but I’m not sure I want to do that.

I walked away from my computer for a few minutes, then came back and thought, is there a fifth possibility? Then I began typing. Amazingly, there was another possibility and that fifth idea is probably the best one. Not the most straight-forward–it begins a little bit later in the story and I will have to add in the backstory as I go along.

So, why might it the best? Well, I think it gives the biggest hook or intrigue. It will also let me fill in some backstory questions slowly and at an interesting pace.

Anyway, it might not work best once I get started, but it’s worth a try.

If you are writing a new book, you can try different openings and see what works best for your story. You don’t have to always begin at the beginning or at the most obvious point. And you don’t have to explain everything immediately. Experiment with it and have fun!